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The better lean cuisine items

Ok I'm on a diet and have tried several lean cuisine items. My favorites so far are Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans, Burgundy Beef and Chicken in Peanut Sauce. I don't like the pizza (although the insert allows for a crisp crust from the microwave). Any other suggestions?

Thanks!

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  1. In their Spa Cuisine line, there's a salmon with brown rice that's decent (as far as frozen lean cuisine dinners go)

    If you have Amy's frozen food (http://www.amys.com/ around you, some of the Indian inspired dishes are very good - Saag Paneer, etc. They are vegetarian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pescatarian

      The Thai chicken and the Sesame Chicken are good. And there is an enchillada one that's good. The turkey and dressing with apples dessert is real good. Most things I have tried have been fine, as long as I pick out the broccoli or green beans. They just don't freeze and reheat well. Remember when I say good, I mean compared to other frozen dinners.

    2. I like
      Chicken Enchilada Suiza with Mexican-Style Rice
      Roasted Garlic Chicken
      Three Cheese Chicken
      Chicken Pecan (with brown rice)
      Southwest-style Chicken Panini

      oh, and their mac & cheese is pretty popular too

      1. I like the salisbury steak w/mac and cheese (or is it mashed potatoes--can't remember) and the swedish meatballs.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gyp7318

          Wasn't in love with the salisbury steak and mash (caused a sense memory for me from my grade school cafeteria). Loved the Swedish meatballs!

          1. re: Chinon00

            I agree on the swedish meatballs. A bit salty but tasty overall.

        2. The thai chicken and lemongrass chicken are both very good.

          The chicken in peanut sauce is good, but not as good as it used to be. Personally, the only ones I like are the chicken and the vegetarian. The beef and seafood ones I don't find very edible.

          Concur that Amy's meals are far superior to lean cuisine. The Indian meals are around 300 calories, and I believe the black bean and corn enchilada is under 300, so they are not much higher than the lean cuisines.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanaB

            My favorite Amy's is the vegetable lasagna, which I believe is right about 300 calories.

          2. The Fettucine Alfredo is my go to but I first saute an onion, basket of mushrooms and a bunch of spinach in a drop of olive oil or just spray w/ Pam. Then nuke the Lean Cuisine and mix altogether. Gives you lots of veggies, volume, and flavor, and there really is enuf sauce to bring it all together.

            1. I actually like one of the pizzas - the deep-dish margherita pizza. I tried the others and hated them, but this one's good (I'm eating it right now). I cook it in the toaster oven, though, despite the warning on the package.

              1 Reply
              1. re: piccola

                I also like the margherita pizza and the sausage/pepperoni one is very similar ( with meat added, of course) also a deep dish style. I also like the BBQ chicken one, b'lieve it or not.

                I mean they are not REAL pizza but not bad if you are trying to lose weight and still crave pizza.

              2. They used to make a cheese cannelloni that was really good. But I haven't seen it in quite awhile. I like the sesame chicken, the santa fe beans & rice, and there's also a southwest-style chicken one. I am sort of ashamed to admit it, but I like the swedish meatballs.

                Unfortunately, our local grocery store's selection is a bit small. So I haven't seen, much less tried, some of the ones some of you have listed.

                1. I think most of the ones I found most appealing are already listed here: Thai Chicken, Turkey and dressing with the apples. I also like Mac and Beef for some reason. Sesame chicken, not bad. Best of a bad lot, other low-cal frozen dinners are really not worth the time. Amy's, while very good with many items, isn't really trying to be low fat/low cal, just vegetarian. Many of their boxes have higher calories than a LC box, but some are tastier. (Try the Amy's "meatloaf" meal, doesn't sound great but I found it surprisingly good and I'm not vegetarian.)

                  I dropped off buying LCs a bit because I've been buying frozen bowl entrees at Trader Joe's which are maybe not all quite as low cal but seem healthy enough, and I'm picking out surprisingly low sodium examples. LC's have a lot of sodium still, probably the least healthy thing about them or any prepared frozen food for that matter, really full of sodium, so it's notable to find some things that have somewhat less than usual. I was just at TJ's again tonight, though, and again what had become my favorite bowl was not available. I'll have to find out what's up, hopefully not discontinued (there was still a sign there for it, just none in the case which was filled with some other varieties).

                  1. No one mentioned the Glazed Chicken. I love it! And my teeny tiny daughter also loves it and got really mad yesterday when she thought I had eaten the last one! hahahaha

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: luv2bake

                      Funny, this is the one I hate. Probably one of the few. Everytime I've tried it, it has what we call in our house "funky chicken" in it.

                      1. re: sivyaleah

                        Eeew - I hate funky chicken! Not to be confused with the dance, the funky chicken. haha

                        I always find it to be tender white meat w/o gristle. Gristle - or inidentifiable "meat" like McNuggets - is our version of funky chicken. However, if it's frozen & thawed & refrozen at a bad grocery store, I have gotten spongy funk before.

                    2. If you want to continue with LC and are at least aware of crazyone's comments (high sodium), I do like:
                      SW style chicken panini
                      the broccoli and cheese potato one (I actually add salsa and/or hot sauce to this one to add more flavor while keeping the calories down)
                      chicken enchilada suiza

                      I also agree with several people who talk about Amy's cuisine - her burritos or enchilada meals - they're a bit higher in calories but honestly, not by much - (well, at least not much more than the pizzas that you do not eat) and since they contain black beans - you have protein and high fiber so I'm willing to sacrifice a few extra calories.
                      the asian pot sticker/rice one (I add low calorie hot chili sauce in the rice -)
                      and I've found personally, that the thai peanut and chicken one from WW is better than the LC varietals.

                      1. sweet and sour chicken with a huge side of steamed broccoli is one of my fav's...

                        today is Sante Fe Rice and Beans with a side of peas

                        I almost never eat a lc without a side of veggies..and

                        rarely buy a version with veggies in them, and no dessert

                        1. No one has mentioned the carbonara! I love it!! (as much as someone can love a frozen diet meal, that is) Delish!

                          1. I'm very into the Panini lately (most types). I like the carbonara. I like the Sante Fe Rica nd Beans (but I like it more from another company). I never get any frozen seafood meals from anyone. I just worry that I'll waste my money.

                            1. My favs include:

                              All of the Spa Line. I like the brown rice, extra veggie content, less salty, interesting flavor combos.

                              Sesame Chicken
                              Enchilada Suiza
                              Salsbury Steak & Mac & Cheese
                              Meatballs & Spagetti (BTW, these are not "meat" balls, they are made with soy!)
                              Thai Chicken
                              Glazed Turkey w/Sweet Potatoes
                              Cheese Ravioli
                              Lasagna
                              Santa Fe Rice & Beans
                              Potstickers (nice and spicy!)

                              BTW I think the Panini's are awful. Most pizzas are adequate, but I prefer the plain 4 cheese over all of them.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sivyaleah

                                my faves are sesame chix, honey mustard chix, and the carbonara.

                              2. Glazed teriyaki chicken is the BEST one!! I have about 10 boxes in my freezer right now! Its under 300 cals and very little fat content!

                                1. I second the enchilada suiza and the sesame chicken. I just finished a burrito from Cedarlane, 260 cal, 1 g fat and it was delicious. It had soy cheese, which I'm not crazy about but don't mind in stuff because it reduces fat content a lot. I also second the Amy's meals as a cut above. Also, many of the SouthBeach meals are very good - probably as good as Amy's. However, I don't always buy them becuase they are VERY expensive (I'm a teacher!)

                                  1. I like the broccoli and cheese potatoes, manicotti, mushroom spinach pizza, and enchiladas suiza. The manicotti is the best - it tastes like the full fat version.

                                    I did not like the mac & cheese - the kind in the red box (WW brand) is awesome though!

                                    1. I like the spinach/mushroom deep dish pizza, but I agree the crust could use some work. If you dont' like those try the brick-oven style pizza with the mushrooms. ..it's very creamy but you might like it.

                                      I personally love the paninis -- especially that they are open faced so I can pick out stuff I don't like, liek green peppers. Both the LC and Stouffer's are great, no noticeable dip in quality/fillings with LC.

                                      1. I'm addicted to the LC spaghetti with meat sauce - I'm embarrassed to say I actually crave it. I have to have one at least once per week. I also really like their:

                                        Fettucine alfredo (not the one with chicken)
                                        Santa Fe Rice and beans
                                        Chicken enchilada suiza
                                        Swedish meatballs
                                        Three meat pizza
                                        Stuffed cabbage
                                        Potato with cheese and broccoli

                                        I really dislike the new square pizzas and I'm not crazy about the paninis. I've tried most of the LCs and while I pick something different occasionally, these are my regulars.

                                        I've also now gotten to like some of the Smart Ones (meat lasagna is very good). Sometimes it depends on what line is on sale as to which version I get - LCs vs SOs.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ns538bmk

                                          I agree. That spaghetti is the best. Been eating since it came in "boil-in-bag" instead of microwavable container.

                                        2. Has anyone tried any of the newest LEan Cuisines? I'm currently eating the Spa Cuisine style Butternut Squash Ravioli - "in a creamy sauce with walnuts, snap peas and carrots."

                                          I'm not sure what to make of this one. I dig the veggies and walnuts but the sauce is pretty bland (had to add a lot of salt to it). The raviolis are good I think? But kind of masked by the sauce.

                                          I've heard a few people rave about this one so I'm kind of disappointed. I find low-fat white sauce to be SO bland, though, so maybe that's my problem!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MaggieB

                                            I tried the new sesame chicken spa cuisine yesterday. It was pretty good. I really like the fact that they are adding more veggies to the "spa cuisine" line -- that's always been one of my biggest complaints about Lean Cuisines.

                                            1. re: MaggieB

                                              I had the Spa Cuisine Salmon in Dill/Lemon Sauce with Broccoli and Whole Wheat Vermicelli today. I guess I'm used to good quality salmon, because I found the salmon in this meal to be very fishy and rubbery.

                                              I appreciate the whole wheat pasta in this dish though I forgot how many fiber grams it added to the dish.

                                              I would hesitate to eat this at work again because the salmon did leave its scent behind in the microwave.

                                            2. I will suggest a tip to make the LC or WW meals more edible and also more filling. I like to make some frozen veggies and add to the entree - certain entrees lend themselves to this more than others. For example, the addition of frozen corn and/or some of frozen veggie blends (like California blend) and a squirt of sriracha sauce really sparks up the thai or chinese style entrees.
                                              My favorites are the WW Thai chicken in peanut sauce (with rice noodles), and the LC thai style ones.
                                              Also good is the same thing with Alfredo and carbonara entrees - add some frozen or steamed chopped broccoli and cauliflower. really helps the. Also a good lunch if you have access to Microwaves.

                                              1. I used to like the LC Chicken Carbonara, but then I stopped eating white flour and cut down on super-processed foods. Now I'm a big fan of the frozen Kashi meals, which are not as processed and much better for you -- made with whole grains, etc. I'd recommended the Kashi Southwestern Style Chicken or their Chicken Pasta Pomodoro. They're slightly more expensive, but infinitely better. I've been able to find these meals at Whole Foods.

                                                1. Funny. I'm actually eating lean cuisine right now. I really really really like their Lemongrass Chicken.

                                                  http://damnedgoodfood.blogspot.com

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Basil Chicken. It's often gone from the shelves. I also enjoy the Three Cheese ravioli bowl. I spice them up with red pepper flakes.

                                                    RE: Amy's meals, I like the burritos. They are simple, but full of flavor and not greasy. They are usually $1.39 each at Target.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sillyrabbit

                                                      Actually, the Basil Chicken is one of my other favorites. I like the thin cutlet, and the sauce is pretty tasty.